Light was added to the Statue of Liberty's torch so that it could serve as New York Harbor's official lighthouse, Believe It Or Not!
First aired January 12, 2000 (Rated TV-PG)Segments:
The Aghori Tribe of India is one of the world's most feared. The Aghorees eat human flesh as part of their spiritual rituals. Because of this, they have remained virtually untouched by civilization and the nation's Hindus. Watch as they come out of hiding for human remains on the river bank after a traditional Hindu funeral. Each member of the sect must eat human flesh at least once in their lives. Both Dean Cain and the local Indian producer narrate this first-ever film of Aghorees performing their grisly ritual.
There is a club in Dallas, Texas, where young men with an unusual hobby like to hang out... literally! Inspired by the ancient Hindu ceremony Thai Pusam, in which devotees insert large steel rods into their skin, members of the Texas-based Suspension Club insert multiple hooks into their skin. The hooks are then attached to ropes, cables, pulleys and anything else available. In some cases, members are then hoisted into the air, attached by the hooks they have pierced through their skin. These guys say hanging from the rafters from meat hooks embedded in their skin is a "spiritual experience." [Note: one of them will get married in the 3rd season] Watch as 9 of them are hung as performance art from a giant crane in front of the Ripley's Castle
Cody has baffled veterinarians with his ability to mimic innumerable human words. Listen as he repeats his first, which was actually a complete sentence, "I love Ida"
Rosemarie Siggins has amazed the medical world her whole life. First, doctors were amazed at her basic good health despite a severe birth defect that left her without a lower torso and legs. Then, two years ago, Rosemarie met David Siggins in an auto parts store he managed, and they fell in love. At 26, she's living a full life and has amazed her doctors again, by giving birth to a healthy baby boy on 1-6-99, despite having no pelvis or spine below her rib-cage. Two doctors told her to end her pregnancy before finding one who would help her. Her "legs" are actually a beat up skateboard on which she whizzes around taking care of her household chores and errands.
George Vlosich is one of the most talked about artists in the country, with his masterpieces selling for as much as $3,000. And, believe it or not, he does it all on an ordinary Etch-A-Sketch.
He's a sports fan with VIP access to any dugout or locker room in pro ball. His unique talent has opened the door to meeting superstars like Michael Jordan. So what does this kid have to deserve red carpet treatment? Simply, an Etch-a-Sketch: see his Michael Jordan
Maggots are the medical world's new "Dust Buster" in hospital operating rooms. Placing fly larvae on an infected wound not only cleans faster and better than any traditional treatment, but also speeds up the healing process.
Lightning never strikes twice in one spot, except for Dean Ortner, who has been struck hundreds of times. Ortner is a science teacher at Moody Bible Institute and he has a unique way of teaching his students. He allows himself to be hit with a one-million volt bolt of lightning, burning a stick that he is holding.
Bendy Man (1940 clip)
Meet Joe Laurello, a man who originally called himself the "Owl Man". Billed as the only man in the world who could turn his head 180 degrees, Joe could even walk in reverse. He felt no pain, but X-rays revealed his spinal cord was twisted into the shape of a question mark. Doctors claimed his vertebra should have snapped when his head twisted past 90 degrees. But Joe proved them wrong. Believe it or Not.
Vampire Killing Kit
There are over 22,000 objects in the Ripley Warehouse; unusual objects that Ripley collected in his travels. One of the most intriguing will keep you safe on a Transylvanian vacation - it's an authentic 18th century Vampire Prevention Kit. Open the velvet-lined wooden box and you'll find a small vial of Holy Water, a garlic necklace and a wooden stake. It also contains a crucifix that has a real gun barrel inside that fires silver bullets!
First aired January, 2000 (Rated PG-D)
Erik Sprague is a graduate student in Philosophy whose thesis explores human behavior and what society deems normal. In order to put this thesis to the test, Erik is systematically altering his physical appearance to resemble that of a Lizard! With a "bodysuit" of tattooed green scales, a forked tongue, teeth sharpened to points, horned ridge implants above his eyebrows and fingernails ground into thick claws, Erik’s body has been radically transformed into a reptilian facade.
Cut Away Bungee
Ron Jones is an avid outdoorsman and bungee-jumping addict. In fact, he even bought a bridge in the middle of the Los Angeles National Forest just so he could have a place to practice the dangerous sport. Now, Ron has perfected the art of cut-away bungee jumping. From a platform suspended over two hundred feet in the air, Ron will jump feet first with a cut-away bungee cord attached to his shoulders. This special cord allows him to release from the bungee as soon as his feet hit the ground and then step away before the elastic cord yanks him back in the air. One wrong step could mean death in this unprecedented stunt.
Tony Volpentest runs faster than 99% of the population, which in itself is amazing, but now consider the fact that Tony was born without hands or feet. Throught the miracle of modern science Tony has been equiped with 'Flex Fleet', a prosetic that does not hinder his desire to succeed.
Few people have what it takes to change a life altering illness into a form of entertainment. Scott Sabala is one of those few. After losing his eye and the roof of his mouth to cancer, Scott is now performing in front of audiences with a number of tricks. One of his more popular tricks is putting a flashlight in his mouth and duplicating the effects of a jack-o-lantern.
Pool Playing Dogs
Larry Grindiger has taught his two dogs to play pool. These amazing mutts can even call shot by barking out the ball numbers.
Flame Throwing Car
South Africans fearful of car-jacking can now legally install a device which throws flames onto any threatening characters! Flamethrowing Car
A four-course meal begins with Manchurian ant and Louisiana cricket salad, followed by a hot bowl of bat soup with a little braised rat in black bean sauce. Dessert is chocolate covered crickets.
Mirin Dajo could puncture his heart with a sword and survive!
The ancient Chinese practice of footbinding was outlawed long ago as cruel and inhumane. But, Believe It or Not, there's a beautiful, young woman right here in the U.S, who actually practices footbinding today because, she says, men think it's sexy!
A man who stops his own heart!
Blasted out of Mars by asteroids a billion or so years ago and discovered in Africa, it is one of only a few scientifically authenticated Mars rocks on Earth. It is also the most expensive object in the Ripley's collection; worth $250,000!
First aired January 26, 2000 (Rated PG-V)
Bill Black is a barber who knows the value of a good head of hair. After cutting his clients’ hair, he doesn’t just throw away the clippings, he sweeps them into his basement, where they ultimately become clothing. That’s right - Black cleans and dries the stored hair and weaves it into thread. He uses this thread to sew swimsuits, vests, ties and even suits – all from his own designs. Hair Bikini
Fishermen who take tourists on expeditions to find the Great White Shark as it comes out of the water to their touch. But be careful, one man shows his missing finger from a close encounter! Watch as a biologist takes a blood sample from a shark swimming near the boat
By day, he’s a webmaster...but by night, Wally Glenn is Pyro Boy. Obsessed with fireworks, Wally dons a fire retardant suit and straps on over 20 pounds of fireworks and other explosives. The fuses are lit and Wally Glenn becomes a human fireworks display! Now this pyromaniac will perform a different and even more dangerous stunt. Armed with his suit of fireworks, Wally will attempt to travel through rings of fire without igniting the fuses on his back, or this could be his last performance.
When Joe Sullivan was diagnosed as autistic, experts told his family not to expect too much from their son. But Joe is an autistic savant, which means he is blessed with extraordinary abilities despite his developmental disabilities. In the savant world, he's known as a "lightning calculator." Joe can beat any computer in a complicated multiplication or division problem and he can tell you what date Easter will fall on in the year 7910. He can also look at a five-gallon jar of beans and know exactly how many beans it contains. Sound familiar? That's because the popular Oscar-winning movie "Rainman" was based on Joe's life. But in fact, Joe's case is extremely rare --there are fewer than 100 such documented cases in world literature. Believe it or not, he is a genius in 14/15 subjects and can read two pages of a book at the same time. Website: www.memoryedge.com
When faced with a life or death situation, police and military authorities are forced to act quickly. Unfortunately, criminals are sometimes subjected to lethal force unnecessarily. With the development of less-lethal technology, bizarre new police weapons have been created to fight 21st century crime. Stink pellets can be used in riot situations to disperse a crowd. A "sticky" shocker produces a sticky substance that when fired adheres to the subject and induces electronic shocks for 8 seconds. We will meet the man who makes his living being shot at by lasers, phazers and mace as the human guinea pig for these new weapons.
Last August, Kevin Warwick underwent surgery to implant a transponder chip under his forearm. The chip was encased in a glass capsule, which contained an electromagnetic coil and a number of silicon chips. A radio signal was sent to the chip, and the chip then transmitted a unique signal to computers in Kevin’s office building. The moment he walked in his office door, Kevin was recognized by the building computers. The computers automatically opened doors for him, downloaded his email, and traced his whereabouts anywhere in the facility. Now Kevin, a professor from England, is part man, part computer...and the world's first cyborg.
Only in Shanghai would you find a man with the unique ability to astonish and amaze crowds of onlookers by placing hooks in his eyelids and lifting heavy objects. Shanghai is home to a ancient culture that boast a proud history of science and medicine. But doctors in this popular city can not explain the man they call the "eyelid lifter."
This New Yorker creates unique sculptures made from everyday objects, such as mannequins, axes, and toothbrushes. These are no ordinary works of art--they're also incredible sounding musical instruments which he plays for crowds in the local club scene! But that's not all... believe it or not, he also uses his own head as an instrument!
First aired February 2, 2000 (Rated TV-PG)
An old Ripley’s story about a man drawing an ocean liner on the tip of a pin inspired David Pay to write on grains of rice. Pay can write the entire alphabet in 17 seconds and can write up to 338 characters on a single grain of rice – all with the naked eye. What started as a personal challenge has turned into a way of making a living. David now sells his rice grains at the Historic Market Square in San Antonio, TX, where wide-eyed customers are amazed with his wee-sized writing. David’s goal - to write over 1,700 characters on a single grain!
Cancer Sniffing Dog
With a higher success ratio than an x-ray, a former bomb-sniffing dog named George has been trained to sniff out skin-cancer in people. A growing contingent in the medical community believes that because of dogs' hypersensitive sense of smell, they are able to detect minute chemical changes that occur in humans in the early stages of cancer. With a cancer patient and 2 placebo patients, we will conduct our own "cancer-sniffing" study using this amazing dog.
Quick Draw Bob
Bob Munden is the fastest gun in the West, or anywhere else, for that matter. Believe it or not, this pistol-packin’ cowboy from Montana can unholster his Colt .45 and hit a target as small as a half dollar in a mere 2-100ths of a second – seven times faster than the blink of an eye!
From the archive
A woman crosses Times Square, New York, hanging from her teeth along a high wire for Ripley's camera
The Komodo Dragon of Indonesia has a family history of over 25 million years, it is the last pre-historic lizard on Earth. Although these fascinating and dangerous creatures are near extinction, scientists believe these giant lizards hold the key to the survival of mankind. The Komodo Dragon produces a natural antibody that keeps it from getting bacterial or viral infections. Scientists from around the globe are teaming up to study the Dragon’s secretions in order to find ways of combating deadly diseases and reducing the threat of germ warfare.
Human Stun Gun
Tom Cameron and his 14 year old daughter Alexis, have perfected a secret form of martial arts that can instantly knock a man out (or kill him by stopping his heart) with just one touch. To do this, they use a controversial pressure-point technique called the Death Touch. On this week’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Alexis will demonstrate this powerful procedure on a man three times her size!
Geoff Smith's brilliant idea was simple. Climb into a coffin sized box, and have himself buried 6 feet under ground in the yard behind his local pub. Believe it or not, that's just where he remained... for 5 months! In a Ripley's exclusive, we'll go with Geoff under the earth to find out how he survived and why he did it, following in his mother's footsteps. We'll show our viewers the never-before-seen footage documenting Geoff's 147-day ordeal!
This tough soled guy can walk barefoot on saws!
Believe it or not, we'll show you life imitating art. Actually human beings posing as classic artwork, so realistic it's hard to tell if it's "live or memorex." And as for the final exhibit: yes, she's wearing nothing but silver paint!
First aired February 9, 2000 (Rated TV-PG)
Neil Pearson returned home late one night and tripped in his mother's flower garden. He impaled himself on a stake that was used to support the plants. The stake passed through his armpit, into his body and out of his neck on the opposite side. Amazingly, Neil received no major injuries and there was hardly any blood. Believe it or not, the stake avoided every major organ and nerve center in its path.
In 1976, amateur photographer David Stilling, decided that he wanted to shoot one of nature's most difficult and impatient subjects - lightning. Armed with his 35mm Minolta, David started shooting and hasn't been able to stop some 23 years and 85,000 photos later. On call 24 hours a day, David waits for storms and tries to calculate where and when will lightning strike next. Rewards are satisfying, but few. For every 250 pictures that David shoots, typically only one photo is usable. Most people run for cover during a lightning strike, but not David - he douses himself with ammonia, wraps himself in tin foil and heads for the nearest muddy field, praying for lightning and risking his life for the sake of a great picture.
The Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant, a golden box that is believed to house the 10 Commandments, mysteriously disappeared over a thousand years ago. This holy relic has been shrouded in mystery for centuries. Legend has it that only the pure of heart can touch it – anyone else will be destroyed. For hundreds of years, archaeologists have searched for this treasure with no success – until now. Meet archaeologist Bob Cornuke, who believe it or not, has discovered what historical experts are confirming is the secret location of the Ark in a remote Ethiopian village. With Bob as our guide, we’ll retrace the steps he feels were taken by those secreting the Ark to a hidden spot where a monk deemed pure of heart has been designated its sole guardian. Websites: Vendyljones.org.il, www.Monumentpictures.com, www.Lightcatcherprod.com
Elizabeth Christensen has spent a quarter of a million dollars on plastic surgery to look like the ancient Egyptian Queen Nefertiti. Over the course of 12 years, this ordinary housewife has had over 25 plastic surgeries, including nose jobs, face lifts, chemical peels, chin enlargements, a lip lift and eye surgery – and she’s not stopping there. Elizabeth’s goal is to have her face reflect an Egyptian work of art, and she estimates that with 4 or 5 more surgeries, she will achieve this perfection.
Mini Tattoo Artist
Believe it or not, Anil Gupta can tattoo an exact replica of the painting Mona Lisa onto the human body. That’s because Anil’s masterpieces are no bigger than a quarter!
Merchant Navy seaman Jack Hall grew so bored while serving as a deck-hand in the 30s, he decided to make use of all the used matchsticks his fellow sailors were leaving around. Despite having no carpentry skills or knowledge of musical instruments, he decided to create a "fiddle". After experimenting a bit with gluing techniques and more than 20,000 matchsticks, Jack proudly showed off his creation to his fellow shipmates with a few off notes. The musical instruments are praised for their good sound and ornamentation. Country music star Glen Campbell is a huge fan of the instruments and will play them for Ripley's.
At the University of Arizona, parrots do more than just mimic human sounds and expressions, like "Polly wanna cracker?" Scientists at the University say their "parrot prodigies" actually communicate with humans and can understand many questions and requests. Dr. Irene Pepperberg has shown that parrots may be capable of complex communication. Her birds can identify over 50 objects and categorize things based on color, shape and material. Her star pupil, Alex, has a 100 word vocabulary and performs at the same level as a chimp or a small child. Join Ripley’s as we watch Dr. Pepperberg put her birdbrains to the test.
The Firetruck Pulling Priest
Reverend Kevin Fast is a devout Lutheran with an unusual hobby: he tests his strength and endurance by harnessing his body to a firetruck and pulling it up to 50 feet! Don’t miss the Reverend performing this backbreaking feat on Ripley’s Believe It or Not! while his loyal congregation cheers him on. Kevin will attempt to pull not one, but two firetrucks behind him!
The Oldest Dad
Mr. Skeets is now a proud father at age 103. His wife is 30 and has two kids, aged 5 and 2.
First aired February 16, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V)
What began as a drunken college ritual has escalated into a death defying passion for Rick Meisel. Now 41, Rick is the only man who can free himself from six pairs of handcuffs and two pairs of leg-irons while spinning around in a water-filled washing machine. After Rick squeezes himself into a front-loading washer, the machine is then turned on, and Rick must escape before drowning in the sudsy water or being knocked unconscious during the spin cycle. Once free, Rick opens the door and falls out on to the ground, emerging soapy but safe. Talk about a clean getaway!
Inspired by Indian mystics and street performers, Tim Critland is a self-proclaimed Torture King – a man capable of withstanding more pain that 99% of the human population. To demonstrate his tolerance for pain, Critland shoots electricity through pins fastened in his chest, pours molten hot lead on his body, penetrates his muscles with skewers, eats broken glass and walks barefoot on a ladder of sharpened blades. Now, in front of the Ripley's Museum, Critland will perform a feat that has never been attempted before – he will lay on a bed of nails while a Volkswagen bus drives over him!
Lots of dogs can do cool tricks like fetch, roll over, beg and play dead. But Chanda, an 8 lb. Poodle, has proven she’s almost human. Chanda can multiply, play the piano, identify colors, bowl, and bring a tissue when her master sneezes. She even goes to the bathroom in her own toilet! Believe it or not, Chanda can perform over 500 different tricks – more than any other dog in the world.
Robert Wadlow grew to be an amazing 8'11". At age 5 he was taller than his grandmother and in third grade he was over 6 ft. tall. He needed to sit in a desk that was specially made for him. He had a rare pituitary disorder that ultimately caused a strain on his body, and as he grew, his bones weakened. He died at age 22.
Scotland Yard's Secret Weapon
Plane crashes, terrorist attacks and horrifying crimes are hard enough to watch on the evening news, but imagine if you also saw them in your dreams – even before they happened! Chris Robinson’s dreams are so visionary and accurate that the highly regarded, once skeptical Scotland Yard has installed a direct telephone line right into his bedroom.
Dr. Bill Haast is 86 years old and has been bitten 166 times by some of the world's deadliest snakes. Bill runs the Miami Serpertarium and is one of the pioneers of venom extraction. He collects deadly poisons from snakes so that scientists can create anti-venoms for people who’ve been bitten. He began injecting himself with snake venom in the late 1950s, because he believed this would build an immunity and help him survive deadly snake bites in the future. His own blood has actually been used to save the lives of snake bite victims.
3 Crazy Houses
Gold Pyramid House
Wealthy businessman Jim Onan took his life-long obsession with ancient Egypt to new heights when he built his ultimate dream home in Wadsworth Illinois: a five floor pyramid made of gold. The home has 9 bathrooms and is 17,000 square feet. It even has a moat!
Built on a dare in 1931, a three-story house purchased by Laurie Atherton is the world's narrowest house at 9 feet wide! This home is located in Long Beach, CA and is the skinniest house in the world. It is 9 ft. wide and has 2 ft. wide door frames. Laurie, couldn't even get her box spring bed through the doors on moving day.
Missile Silo Family
Edward and Dianna Peden live in an 18,000 sq. ft. refurbished, decommissioned Atlas-E missile site near Topeka Kansas. They purchased the Silo for $40,000 and created a spacious and comfortable home for themselves. They use meditation to take away the negative energy that was there previously when it housed the actual warhead. In November 2012 a silo in California went up for sale but this time the price was over a million dollars!
Little George Pocheptsov does more than just finger painting. Since he was 17 months old, he has been creating amazing works of art that have generated so much buzz, there are 193,000 people on the waiting list for his work. Now George is 7 years old, and his original artwork sells for $10,000 a piece!
First aired February 23, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V)
Bee Venom Therapy
Apitherapy has been practiced by the Chinese for over 3000 years, but in the last 50 years this ancient medical treatment has been adopted by many alternative practitioners in the US medical community. Believe it or not, bee venom may be the best thing to ever happen to sufferers of debilitating diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and arthritis. However, a simple injection of the bee venom is not effective. Patients must be repeatedly stung by bees in order for the treatment to be successful, sometimes as often as 60 times a week! We’ll meet Pat Wagner, a Maryland woman who's been stung over 20,000 times and has suffered from MS since she was 19. At 42, she was confined to a wheelchair, but today she lives a 95% normal life because of bee venom therapy.
Small Bike Wheelie
The bicycle that Bobby Hunt (30ish) rides and performs wheelies on has wheels the size of silver dollars and fits in the palm of his hand. But that’s not all – his whole family gets in on the act! Bobby’s dad juggles knives, his mom walks on stilts and Billy, Bobby’s brother, can shoot fire from his mouth.
Taste of Darkness
It's pitch dark in this new Paris restaurant, but it isn't because they forgot to pay the power bill. Believe it or not, although most of their food ends up on them, patrons flock to this trendy new eatery to eat dinner in total darkness! Believe it or not, Gout du Noir (A Taste of Darkness), offers a unique dining experience for its patrons – dinner is served in complete darkness. In a carefully sealed cellar, blind waiters serve meals to visitors who aren’t told what they are about to eat. This popular new restaurant was originally created to heighten public awareness of the difficulties facing blind people. Nevertheless, it has also proved to be a fascinating dining experience in which traditional French barriers of social etiquette have crumbled amidst the shared chaos of dining in the dark.
In Nepal, a four-year-old girl without a scar on her body is selected to fill the role of Kumari, the virgin goddess. The girl, who must be from the Buddhist Shakya caste, is taken from her family and must spend her childhood in a temple devoted to Kumari. She is worshipped and adored by people every day. However, once puberty hits, the young goddess is shunned and must return to her family with little education and almost no hope for marriage, as it is considered bad luck for a man to marry former Kumari.
The Modern Primitive
Fakir Musifar is known as the Godfather of the Body Modification Movement and the Original Modern Primitive who has been shocking audiences since the 1950's. He was initially inspired by a Ripley's cartoon and has performed many modifications to his own body. He has trimmed his waist to 19 inches with corsets and has hung himself from hooks in a Native American ritual and pierced himself with 30+ skewers! Fakir runs a piercing workshop and is revered by people in the body modification and shamanistic world.
This may be the most unusual city on earth, with more than 2,000 residents living, shopping, dining and even going to church in an amazing underground tunnel and cave world! In an effort to escape the extreme Australian Outback conditions, the residents of Coober Pedy built a complete city in abandoned mine shafts, including underground homes, churches, restaurants, and even entire motels.
Wrecking Ball Man
Ken Richmond trains everyday in a gym, but instead of developing muscles, he’s looking to build up his strength. This martial arts expert will perform an amazing stunt for Ripley's. Ken will put two piles of bricks on his head and will allow a cannon ball to be dropped on to the bricks. To top it off, Ken will stun spectators as he withstands the force of a 4,000 pound wrecking ball slamming through a concrete wall and into Ken's amazing abdominals. Ouch!
Meet a man who works in a 50's-style diner outside of Los Angeles. After his work is done for the day, he puts on a show for his patrons. He can lift an entire table, complete with chairs and people on top. Waiter Pete Tsarnas amazes diners when he dances holding a dinner table with a belly dancer on top... with his teeth! Or, if that's not enough, try two tables and a chair!
Bats & Rats
In the South Pacific's Palau, Micronesia, visitors can find a restaurant that serves a whole bat floating in coconut broth! In order to make the soup, the bat must be boiled for two full hours. Restaurant patrons can order raw or cooked bat and the head is generally considered the best part. While in China, don’t miss the restaurant where rats are the universal ingredient, making for a low fat, low cholesterol meal.
1965 - South Vietnamese farmer Nguyen Van Chinh was struck in the back by a live grenade. It became lodged between his skin and kidney. Believe it or not, he recently had it surgically removed -- Major General James Humphries led the U.S. Air Force medical team which precariously removed it with tools mounted on poles from behind sand bags without detonating the grenade!
First aired March 1, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V)
Troy Hurtubise, nature photographer, has created an indestructible suit that can resist any form of punishment. His latest creation is a new formula that when applied, makes anything 50 times stronger than steel.
Combat Self Defense
Rod Sacharnoski does more than just shock people. The retired police officer studied martial arts for years in Okinawa. Upon returning to the U.S., he continued to study various types of martial arts, and eventually created his own unique form, called "Juko Kai." (a.k.a. "Combat Ki"). Juko Kai is a combination of combat arts, such as those practiced by the Samurai. Over the past 30 years Dr. Sachamoski has trained countless Secret Service agents and police officers. By controlling his mind and his breathing, Dr. Sachamoski is able to defer anger and withstand shocking levels of force to very sensitive parts of his body. He teaches his students to do the same thing. See an NFL football kicker, heavyweight boxer, and a martial arts champion hit Dr. Sachamoski’s students in the most sensitive areas of their bodies (punch in the neck, chest and kick between the legs, while they remain perfectly calm) without getting hurt!
Thai Pusam Festival
The Thai Pusam festival is a three-day religious ceremony in India which is an integral part of Hindu worship, highlighted by 4,500 devotees who carry "Kavadi" to the Lord Murugan in order to ward off any future bad karma. During the festival, participants pierce themselves with various objects such as skewers and hooks. As the piercings take place, these participants go into a trance-like state.
See no evil, speak no evil... these days piercings are common, but this guy takes his piercing fetish way over the edge in what is called play-piercing -- meet a man who is so inspired by this festival that he creates his own personal ceremony. This man allows someone to thread string through his eyes and lips with a sharp needle, sewing his mouth shut for art's sake!
Located at the St. Joseph’s State hospital in Missouri, George Glore’s collection of psychiatric instruments tells the horrifying story of centuries of misguided treatments for the mentally ill. Many treatments were based on the concept that mental illness stemmed from devil possession or bad blood in the system. Some of the exhibits include a 19th Century Tranquilizing Chair, which is a restraining device that uses a devious method to bind the arms and legs of the patient, and the Bath of Surprise, which was a cold-water treatment for scaring out the demons that plagued someone. Restraint cages, dunking tubs, fever cabinets and swings designed to induce vomiting and vertigo... they are actually devices once used on psychiatric patients right here in the United States.
Blind Bowling Granny
Meet CeeCee Clark, who is legally blind, yet she has bowled a perfect 300 game! Outside the bowling alley, she uses a seeing-eye dog to get around, but on the lanes she is an accomplished bowler who regularly gets 10 strikes a game. The clever granny positions herself by feeling the back of the approach with her foot while keeping her hand on the ball return to the side of the lane. Follow her through a few games, and you’ll see that her high scores are no fluke!
Metal Eating Man
Believe it or not, this man really eats metal, glass, and just about anything else he can get his hands on. Even though he once ate an entire airplane, he is amazingly in excellent health! As he gets older, however, the risk increases more and more. While a shocked crowd watches, this human billy goat will eat broken glass, razor blades, nails, and even the plate that these delicacies are served on.
Drew Koon is amazing his family and friends. Believe it or not, this 2-year-old tot can identify any car, and begs his mom to read owner's manuals instead of fairy tales to him at bedtime!
First aired March 9, 2000 (Rated TV-PG)
Roller Man French Industrial designer Jean Ives Bondeau looks like something from outer space when he dons the unique "roller" suit he created. The suit covers his entire body with over 30 wheels, transforming him into a human rollerball! A skating fanatic, Jean took his obsession to new levels of speed and maneuverability. Now, he can zoom through the subways of Paris, zipping down stairs and hugging sharp corners with ease through Paris as fast as 30 mph! Believe it or not!
26-year-old Jason Smith has finally found a job that allows him to use his diving skills. But he’s not diving in the ocean – Jason dives into giant tanks of raw sewage or radioactive materials in order to make repairs. He must wear a large protective suit and helmet because of the high risk of disease in the murky, contaminated waters. And after over 2000 dives, Jason still enjoys every minute of it!
Toe Nail Diva
Anthropologist Dr. Kathy Hayes is your average working wife and mother... except for her obsession: she wears her toenails long. In fact, they are 4 7/8 inches long! It took her five years to grow her toenails to this length and she can only wear sandals. Kathy considers her toenails works of art and keeps them sculpted, painted and accessorized. A businesswoman by day, she's forced to walk on her heels and must wear black stockings over her feet when at work. Believe it or not!
Respected surgeons around the world are now re-discovering the benefits of these slimy, little bloodsuckers. Leeches have the ability to consume five times their weight while feeding on blood. This makes them useful in reattachment surgeries and in helping patients with circulatory conditions. The leech consumes the pooling blood that is not flowing back to the heart. As an added benefit, leech saliva has an anti-coagulating property that keeps the host's blood flowing freely. See how a doctor saved the ear of a young boy with the use of leeches. Leaches are regarded as a true miracle cure!
Biggest Little Train
Bill Williams Zaccagnino has such a passion for model trains that he built the world's largest HO-scale model railroad. He has always been obsessed with trains. He bought 16 acres of land and erected a 52,000 square foot building to house the railroad, which contains 8 miles of track, 400 bridges, 135 trains and more than 4,000 buildings. Twenty-five years and nine million dollars later, he's created the world's largest HO-scale model railroad. The electricity alone costs $5,000 a month!
The first time former model Megan Greer tried to free dive, she went down 87 feet. Right then she knew that she had a natural ability to dive amazing depths without an oxygen tank. She can hold her breath under water for 4 minutes and 36 seconds, where the average woman can hold her breath for only 1 minute. Mehgan Heany-Grier, one of the world's most beautiful women risks her life by plunging 165 ft. deep into the ocean, on a single breath of air! She has gone deeper than any American woman diver and would like to go on and attempt to dive over 200 feet without airtanks.
Bowling Ball Stacker
His bowling skills won't win him any trophies, but David Kremer has the distinction of being able to stack bowling balls higher than anyone else in the world -- 11 balls high!
Honore Fragonard spent his life in the vague terrain between science and art, using dead bodies for raw material. Trained as a surgeon, he was named director of the world's first veterinary schools in Lyon. Dissecting cadavers at the rate of two a week, he started to develop the techniques that would allow him to preserve and pose his unique works, flayed figures.
Big Steak Eaters
At the Big Texan Steak Ranch, it's not just big macho cowboys that try to devour all this meat. Men, women, and even kids dive head first into a giant 72 oz. cut of meat. A couple from Nevada have passed through this steak house every year for the last three years and entered the contest, adding their own unique twist to it... they compete against each other!
First aired March 15, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V)
Sleeping With Snakes
Meet a man who has an exotic animal collection. He captures his own snakes and even sleeps with them. He plays with 30 boa constrictors at a time, he wrestles an 18-foot anaconda, purposely irritating them to the point of vicious attack. Surprisingly, he doesn't get hurt as he has a strange effect on these very dangerous animals. He trains them into submission by sleeping with them every night for three weeks. Also, see an 18-year-old girl form a bond with a deadly anaconda by dancing with it. She even places the snake's head in her mouth!
Rodeo Bull Survivor
Richard "Tuff" Hedeman survived the longest ever hang-up in bull-riding history. A hang-up occurs when a bull rider's hand gets caught in the rigging after dismounting and the rider is therefore dragged along with the bucking bull. Tuff's experience lasted a full 90 seconds, and luckily, he walked away unharmed. Even though this accident could have damaged his spine, Tuff decided to continue bull riding. On his next ride, the bull's head collided with his own and he broke every bone on the right side of his face. The result was 6 1/2 hours of reconstructive surgery in which doctors inserted 6 titanium plates in Tuff’s head.
Induced Heart Attack
Dr. William Spencer has pioneered an operation that involves injecting pure alcohol into the heart, producing a heart attack. This bold new procedure has done wonders for Donna Colorado, a patient of Dr. Spencer. Before the operation, Donna's heart was enlarged and was blocking the blood flow out of the heart. As a result, she could barely walk. However, after this one hour operation and two weeks of recovery, Donna was feeling much healthier and was finally walking on her own.
Believe it or not, Barney Smith has dedicated the last 30 years of his life to decorating toilet seat lids. He has created over 535 pieces, all of which line the walls of his garage. Barney’s toilet seat gallery includes everything from a tribute to the Challenger crew to a collection of Pokemon cards.
Bob Gray, a.k.a. "Backwards Bob," can write backwards and upside with both hands simultaneously on 4 quadrants. He is also the only person who can speak backwards phonetically. Check out his website: www.memoryedge.com.
Two doctors have come up with a revolutionary method of teaching infants to use hand gestures to communicate. At the University of California, Davis, researchers are running a day care center that works as a laboratory for baby signing, teaching babies as young as 3 months old to use sign language to communicate everything from "I'm hungry" to "I want to go outside." Not surprisingly, infants who have been taught baby signing are exhibiting higher IQ levels than other babies.
Website: Award Winning Sign Language Videos!
New Yorkers Fred and wife Kiva Kahl are truly an odd couple with a mission - proving that ancient art forms like sword swallowing and fire eating aren't illusions. Fred will swallow an endoscopic camera with a small light source and then he'll swallow live cockroaches! Next, he'll stand in front of a flouroscopic machine, which is a moving x-ray and swallow a sword!
Fred and Kiva have long been pushing each other to their physical limits to achieve feats that no one else in the world can. Fred has swallowed coat hangers, fluorescent tubes, and curved swords.
Move over Scarlett O'Hara! Extreme corseting has made its way back into fashion. We'll meet a young woman with a 15 inch waist and a man whose waist is only 18 inches! Dita, a top Playboy model, is famous for donning corsets and showing off her 17-inch waist. Also meet Andee Glass, who got into "waist training" when she was in art school and achieved an 18-inch waist. Unfortunately, corseting comes at a price. When these women are waist training, they can only eat small meals and risk gastritis, migraines and liver problems. Their pink website: Versatilefashions.com
First aired March 22, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V)
Teen Strong Girl
14-year-old Shannon Pole Summers has won numerous lifting competitions and can lift up to 1,000 lbs. When she was nine she began strength training with her father and soon proved to be a very powerful lifter. Now, Shannon will take on her high school football team by pulling a schoolbus packed with all of the players.
Shanti Provasoli is about to have a root canal without anesthesia. His physician, Dr. Gestara has been using hypnothesia on his patients for the past 20 years as an alternative to traditional anesthesia. Using distraction to block the pain of surgery, hypnothesia can be a perfect alternative for patients who are allergic to local anesthetics or for those who opt not to have anesthesia. Believe it or not, 80-90% of his patients make it through medical procedures without one second of pain. Will Shanti endure his root canal free of pain?
Moses Lanham has a one-of-a-kind ability-- he can effortlessly and painlessly rotate his legs and feet 180° and now his six-year-old son Trey is following in his father’s backward footsteps by displaying the same twisting ability. After discovering this unique talent at age 14, Moses often pulled pranks on his friends by standing in a telephone booth with his back to the door and his legs and feet facing front!
Seeing Eye Horse
The way in which visually impaired people get around is being revolutionized. Seeing-eye dogs may be replaced by seeing-eye horses. Both dogs and horses cost about $25,000 to buy and train, but mini-horses can put in over 30 years of service (that's 20+ years longer than a dog). Mini-horses also have better peripheral vision and an incredible memory.
Rubber Band Man
While working in the mailroom at a law firm, John Bain began collecting rubber bands. Little did he know that he would eventually put together a rubber band ball almost 13 feet in circumference and weighing over 2,000 lbs. According to his family, John always has been a collector of sorts - from old movie tickets to baseball cards. Luckily, the Alliance Rubber Company has supplied many of the larger rubber bands used for the outer layer of his ball, which have saved him a lot of money.
Behind a common storefront in Bath, England, lies the Microworld Exhibition. It holds over 500 objects of microscopic art. Many of these works can actually fit on the head of an ordinary straight pin. The artist, Willard Wagins, must concentrate on his breathing when carving his masterpieces because otherwise they might blow away. Some of his works include two birds carved into an eyelash; Mt. Rushmore carved into the tip of a pencil lead; and the Statue of Liberty carved into a toothpick.
It's feeding time! Or is it? Dr. David Schlese, a noted biologist, reports that he has unlocked the key to what makes piranha attack. His theory challenges the myth that piranha eat human flesh. Dr. Schlese believes that most piranha will not attack if they don't sense the presence of blood in the water. To test his theory, Schlese will submerge himself into a tank full of carnivorous flesh-eating piranha with razor-sharp teeth, wearing nothing more than a snorkel mask and swimming trunks. Believe it or not!
Meet Roy Haynes, the "Cheapest Man in the World." Roy is so cost-conscious that he splits his 2-ply toilet paper into 2 rolls of 1-ply toilet paper and he dries out and reuses paper towels again and again. What’s more, he takes ketchup packets from restaurants and squeezes them into his own ketchup bottle to save money. You’ll be amazed when Roy shows Ripley’s all the outrageous things he does to save a buck.
Mexican Cave Jump
The Sontana de las Golandrinas (Cave of the Swallows) in Mexico is a quarter of a mile deep. The only way in is to parachute down. But, if you happen to startle the more than 100,000 swallows that live in there, you could be killed as they swarm out and become tangled in the lines. But even that doesn't stop the curious from literally taking the leap just to see what's down below. Dont miss our Ripley’s daredevils attempt this very dangerous jump!
First aired March 29, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V)
Tale from the vault: mystic fertility statues
Are you looking to add new members to your family? If not, then don't go near the mystic fertility statues. It is said that whenever someone touches these statues, the pitter-patter of little feet is not far behind. It's a mystery as to how these sacred talismans work. Unable to find a scientific explanation, officials have been boggled by the possibilities of this mystic force. For safekeeping, the statues were housed in the Ripley's offices. Despite the measures taken, every woman who touched them became pregnant soon after! Although people may think this is just a great coincidence, over and over again the statues have continued to demonstrate their strange power. Currently, there are over 500 women who claim that they have witnessed the statues' power with their own pregnancies.
Most victims of the Titanic died in the Arctic cold water, not drowning. Are you bored with mountain biking and rock climbing? Prepare to meet an unusual adventurer who takes extreme sports to the next level! Wim Hof challenges himself mentally and physically with dangerous physical stunts. For most of these stunts, Wim performs in extremely low temperatures and in low-oxygen conditions. Recently, this human polar bear plunged into freezing water (32 degrees) and swam under polar icecaps that were 1 ft. thick. Wim also recently beat a world record by holding his breath for one minute and 8 seconds in freezing water! He does it with no oxygen or a wetsuit!
She's a member of the chorus and the track team, but this co-ed loves to go outdoors to study decaying dead bodies at the Body Farm, a training ground for future crime busters! At the Forensic Anthropology Center Research Facility at the University of Tennessee, students simulate and study crime scenes in a unique manner. A visitor to the so-called "Body Farm" may be horrified to find fresh bodies scattered around the grounds of this facility. This isn’t a scene from the latest teen slasher film. This controlled setting actually allows students to study the various states of decomposition and help in "time-since-death" estimates and other forensic crime tools. Trained with this creative method, students from the facility often go on to become top forensic scientists and crime scene analysts.
Gary Turner is known to all his friends as "Stretch," and for good reason! Because of an extremely rare medical problem (fortunately, Gary's life is not threatened) this 30 year-old man's skin is virtually like rubber. He can actually cover his face completely--simply by pulling the skin of his neck up and the skin of his forehead down!
Left Turn Louise
Louise Lynes can turn a 3-mile drive into an hour-long nightmare. Ever since she was involved in a traffic accident ten years ago, Louise drives miles out of her way to avoid making any right hand turns. Her problem is so extreme, British TV featured her on a special called "Bad Drivers."
More than 100 people are killed every year in the U.S. by lightning. Tracey McCoy is one of the lucky ones, she took a direct hit from a bolt of lightning and not only lived to talk about it but also walked away without injury.
Meet Amy Saunders. At first sight you would never guess the beautiful young woman is actually a modern day human oddity. She pushes the boundries of her body, and more specifically, her throat after discovering the unique ability to swallow the entire leg of a chair.
Most Americans think of rats as unwanted household pests, but that’s not the case throughout other parts of the world. In fact, the Bhagwati Karniji temple in Rajasthan India is home to thousands of rats. This rat-friendly temple not only allows rats to take up residence, but also considers them sacred. Rats are considered the children of the Hindu goddess Karniji to which the temple is dedicated. Followers pray amid the sounds of scurrying feet, and devotees to the temple even bring the rats offerings such as rice, sweets and alcohol. Remember this next time you lay a mousetrap down in your home!
Hide & Sheep
Next time you tour Europe or take a cross-country trip through the heart of Africa, watch out for the sheep! How would a sheep get to the top of the Eiffel Tower or the wilds of the Serengeti? Years ago, James Hartman and his family and friends began placing hand-painted miniature plaster sheep in amazing spots all around the world. It all started when James and his wife began taking the figures on their short trips. Soon, family and friends began taking the sheep with them whenever they traveled, hiding them in such diverse and bizarre places such as the clock tower of Big Ben. Thanks to this family’s strange hobby, these sheep are true citizens of the world!
Dog Seeing-Eye Dog
These two little dogs are more than just friends. One lost his sight to animal abuse and the other is his inseparable seeing-eye dog. When their story made the news, they were adopted and now have a big backyard, plus a doggie girlfriend!
Super Human Memory
If you’re like most people, sometimes remembering things such as birthdays and grocery lists can be difficult. You would never have to worry about forgetting things again if you were Tatiana Cooley. This remarkable woman has an unbelievable memory. She can look at a grocery list for a couple seconds and then go into a store and retrieve every item on the list. Tatiana’s memory isn’t just astounding, it’s award winning—she has won the Memoriad USA competition three years in a row.
From the vault
This chair covered with spikes was used by the Spanish Inquisition as a torture device. Weights were added to the victim's legs so that they couldn't get up from the chair
First aired April 5, 2000 (Rated TV-PG-V), end half of of 1st season
John was three years old when he ran away from home - into the perilous Ugandan rainforest. Miraculously, a colony of chimpanzees adopted him and cared for him like family. For about four years, John lived like a wild animal in the jungles of Uganda and was able to communicate with the chimps. One day, when John was 6 years old, women from a local tribe found him and put him in an orphanage. After years of learning basic human social skills, John is now a happy and healthy teenager who even sings with a choir. Tonight, on Ripleys we'll reunite John, now 14, with a family of chimps and witness first-hand his special bond and ability to communicate with them as no other human on earth can. Don’t miss his incredible story on this week’s Ripley’s Believe it or Not!
Grand Master Zhou
Grand Master Zhou has learned to harness the power of the mind and body and use it to perform exercises that push the limits. With the point of a sharp spear nested in the soft tissue of his throat, and the other on the bumper he will push a Volkswagon Beetle.
Robot Heart Surgery
Conventional open-heart surgery is a grisly operation. Skilled surgeons must open the patient’s chest cavity by sawing through the ribcage. The heart is then stopped and the body is attached to a heart/lung machine. Recuperation from this type of surgery can last up to a year. Now, robots can perform a closed chest coronary bypass surgery without stopping the heart or cutting through the patient’s ribcage. Controlled by doctors with joysticks, the robots make just three tiny incisions in the patient’s chest. As a result, recovery time is cut to a matter of days. Meet a man who put his life in the hands of the robot and was up and around only hours after having open-heart surgery.
There are unknown heroes who work 70 stories below the streets of New York City everyday, building a new water and sewer system. The Sandhogs, as they’re known, work in deep tunnels, breaking through rock that has never been seen before. On a daily basis, these men and women of New York’s Local 147 must deal with the danger of dynamite, fire, rising ground water, compressed air and falling rocks. Meet Charles Barbridge, a second-generation sandhog who risks his life everyday in order to keep the water flowing in New York City.
Each day two young moms get the kids off to school and then go to work housecleaning. But, this is no ordinary housework--Theresa and Stacy are on 24-hour call to clean up their city's crime scenes in a real-life version of the 2008 movie Sunshine Cleaning
When a volcano blows its top, people naturally run the other way. But not the O'Mearas. Meet the only living married couple on the planet that keep their marriage sizzling in this unusual way. Stephen and Donna O'Meara travel the world in search of erupting volcanoes, risking their lives to film within 10 feet of the rushing molten lava to film it. Believe it or not, the pair was actually married at the erupting vent of a volcano in 1987.
Believe it or Not, a hotel in Sweden is rebuilt from the ground up every year! That’s because it’s made entirely of ice. The Ice Hotel, which has a church, a movie theatre and a bar, takes about a month to build and lasts about 6 months until it melts. The rooms, which feature specially crafted ice beds, go for about $185 per night. It takes 10,000 tons of crystal clear ice and 30,000 tons of snow to build the world's only ICE HOTEL, nearly an acre in size.
Man's Best Friend
This dog goes above and beyond the call of duty as man's best friend. In fact this amazing pooch helps his disabled master by getting items off grocery shelves, picking up around the house and even using a cash machine.
Extreme Ski Fall
When Garrett Bartelt, an extreme skiing champ caught an edge and started falling and falling and falling, for 37 seconds, stunned spectators watched in horror as he tumbled down the slope completely helpless and out of control. But Garrett not only survived a fall that should have killed him...he walked away with only minor injuries to ski again.
From the vault
A skull with a bullet hole? No, ancient doctors drilled a hole in a living patient to let the evil spirits out. This wound did not heal, which means the patient died
(Rated TV-PG)(First broadcast 1/10/2001)
Richard Sandrak is a seven-year old who was born with extra muscle mass. The muscle mass, combined with his love of weightlifting and martial arts, has made this boy very buff with huge biceps, ripped abs, and bulging leg muscles. He looks like a mini-Arnold Schwarzeneggar, is a black belt in karate and can even do squats with an 80-pound weight for an hour.
Byron Ferguson is recognized as the best archer in the entire world. He can do amazing things with a bow and arrow and even shoot an aspirin in mid-air. He uses an old fashioned long bow, which takes 71 lbs. of pressure just to pull its string and can shoot an arrow right through a wedding ring in mid air from 20 yards away, believe it or not!
Henry Rechatan performs death-defying balancing acts all across Europe, and has been doing so for sixty years. Recently, he supported himself by sitting on a plain straight-back wooden chair, balanced on top of another chair, standing on top of upturned drinking glasses -- all balanced tenuously on the very edge of a 2,000-foot cliff! It's his special sensitivity and skill at finding the balancing point between objects that keeps him alive as he practices his very scary hobby.
Spoon Kid (Video nugget)
In Taiwan, there is a family that has an amazing magnetic ability. Some of the family members can get such metal objects as spoons, forks, and irons to stick to their bodies using just their personal magnetism. Now if they could just attract gold...
Isaac is a 3-year-old math whiz. He can add, subtract, multiply, divide, and even give the square root of a number. That's amazing enough for anyone one of his age, but, believe it or not, Isaac is a dog!
Each year on Good Friday, in a small village in the Philippines, a ceremony takes place that recreates the Crucifixion. This ceremony involves nailing several people to crosses and having hundreds of other participants in a procession beating their own backs with bamboo whips.
Meet a man who is covered in thick, dark fur head to toe. Believe or not, this family has a rare genetic trait that makes hair grow all over their bodies, covering everything, including their faces. Doctors are studying the family in order to come up with a cure for baldness.
Man Marries Barbie Doll (video nugget)
A man marries a Barbie doll in an elaborate wedding ceremony, because he believes that the doll houses the spirit of his dead fiancé.
Cannonball Richards (video nugget)
In 1932 there was a man named Frank Richards who was able to endure punishing blows to his midsection. Watch as he endures a cannonball striking his stomach from very close range.
No need for mace, because her bra will sound off and send for police if a woman is being attacked. Believe it or not, Kursty Groves designed a bra that will make noise and summon help. The techno-bra monitors changes in the woman's heart rate, has a GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) locator and a wireless phone! It makes a 911 call when the heart rate reaches an alarming level.
When the movie Jurassic Park was being made, the raptors that chase the kids in the cafeteria kitchen were based on small but vicious looking dinosaurs about the size of a bulldog. Just before the movie was released, a much larger skeleton of one was found measuring 17' long. Some bulldog! Website: www.Berkeley.edu/diapsids
Enigma and Katzen
This husband and wife have found a permanent way to express and share their love for each other by tattooing their entire bodies. In an ultimate act of marital trust Enigma will put his neck on the end of a pitchfork, and his wife will attempt to slice a watermelon on his back... with a hatchet, believe it or not!
In the remote jungles of Columbia, children like 11-year-old Lourdes have only one option to get to school - ride a cable suspended 1,200 feet over the raging river below - using nothing but a simple pulley and a stick to navigate the dangerous ride. Believe it or not!
Believe it or not, at 85-year-old, George Blair is the oldest and the greatest master of Barefoot-Rope-In-The-Teeth water-skiing. That means, no skiis, no hands, and he must rely on only his teeth to keep upright.
Thai Taoist Ritual
On the tiny island of Phuket (pronounced Foo-ket), in their own ceremony to the gods, participants don't just hang objects from their skin. They shove objects as big as a lamp pole or a crow bar through their faces. Believe it or not!
Couple in a Box
Daniel Smith can literally take his limbs out of their sockets to climb into a tiny box. And he won't be alone, either. Believe it or not, Daniel and beautiful contortionist Otgo Waller from Mongolia will both squeeze themselves into a 20x20x30" plexiglas container!
Mark and Jackie Tresl, along with 13-year-old Misha, live in a log cabin in Ohio. But Misha isn't the Tresl's teenage daughter as you may think-but a full grown horse who lives right in the house with the couple, even dining at the table with the rest of the family. Website: www.jntownsendpublishing.com (this link archived in 2002)
Dan Kish lost his eyesight at the age of one. But, using a technique called echo location he developed after studying bats, Dan likes to go bicycling through the busy city streets--even though he is completely blind. Official website: www.blindkids.org
Using one single breath of air, Tanya Streeter will swim down 100 feet then INTO and through a sunken WW2 ship at the bottom of the ocean without airtanks.
From the vault
This 1954 car was used to drive a friend to the Dallas textbook library in 1963. When the car's owner discovered what his neighbor Lee Harvey Oswald had done with the package he said were curtain rods, he sold the car as quickly as possible, for $10
Robert Gallup is a thrill-seeker and an escape artist. For over a year he has planned an unbelievable stunt that is no mere illusion. Robert will be locked up with handcuffs and put into a locked-up mailbag. The mailbag will then be placed into a caged cell and thrown out of an airplane at 18,000 feet. This death-defying act will put Robert at severe risk. Will he be able to escape before it smashes into the ground? He's so proud of the fact that his escapes are real, Gallup will not even tell us how he does it!
The Museo de las Momias in Guanajuato, Mexico houses over one hundred mummified corpses from the nearby cemetery. When a family cannot pay the tax on a grave plot, the corpse is removed and placed in the museum. The corpses are mummified by the minerals in the ground so that they are remarkably preserved by totally natural means. Some even have a full head of hair as well as their original teeth and fingernails.
Scott Meadows is obsessed with fire -- so obsessed he risks his life over and over again, putting himself right in the path of huge, uncontrolled infernos just to photograph them and capture unbelievable images
Ian Fleming (not the James Bond creator) fell in love with Teresa. They met over the internet and after getting to know each other, Ian eventually moved to the USA from England to be with his new love. Unfortunately, Teresa was very sick and the couple soon found out she needed a new kidney to survive. Ian took a blood test, and surprisingly, he was a perfect match as a donor. A one in a billion chance!
Cat Saving Dog
Ginny the dog is credited with saving the lives of over 640 ill and abandoned kitties on the streets of New York. She was even recently named "Cat of the Year" in recognition of her heroic search and rescue efforts. Ginny, along with her owner Philip, takes nightly walks to search for and rescue cats. She and Philip find the abandoned cats and take them to a place where they’re properly cared for. Once the cats are rescued and brought back to health, they are placed in a new home.
From the vault
This German Shepherd dog taught himself to use a Hula-Hoop during the 1950s craze by seeing how much fun the humans were having
Eighteen-year old Travis Wolf is following in his father's footsteps, and so is 16 year old Tony, 14 year old Amanda and 10 year old Sean. And, their father's footsteps take them 40 feet up in the air. Rancher dad Eddy and his kids share a magnificent obsession -- walking on stilts!
Angel Tolentino is a painter, but she doesn't use brushes to apply the paint to the canvas. Instead, Angel uses her chest. She covers her breasts with non-toxic paint and presses her chest against the canvas to create her works of art. Her pieces range from teddy bears, to fish, to hurricanes and flowers. For Angel, this artistic endeavor is simply a celebration of the female form in everyday life and nature.
Matt the Tube Crowley
In the rainy town of Seattle, there’s a pharmacist who can insert a seven foot tube into his stomach through his nose, and pour over a gallon of liquid into it. Matt Crowley, also known as "The Tube," can then extract the fluid after it reaches his stomach. Perhaps the most bizarre part of the story is that after Matt pumps his stomach and brings up the fluid he asks audience members to drink it! And they do!
From the vault
Mongolian torture box acquired by Robert Ripley in his travels. No, there are no torture devices inside - the victim was placed inside with only his head sticking out and left to die in the desert sun
When James Bond movie speedboat driver Sarah Donohue died in a horrific power boat crash, her friend Enrico refused to accept it and continued performing CPR after everyone else had given up. Although the stunt-woman was clinically dead for four minutes Sarah came back to life! The world is not enough, indeed
Snake Head Millionaire
Millionaire Bill Shirk will hang upside down beneath a crane wearing two straight jackets...an assistant will cover Bill with a 15-foot, 150-pound boa constrictor! He'll attempt to get out of the jackets without being strangled or falling to his death!
In 1961 a German-made car drives into water on purpose. Its two propellors drive it at 12 mph in water but new US gas milage regulations put the company out of business in 1968
Edmond Nussbaumer is known as the Bulldozer King because of his love for tractors. As a matter of fact, he has even built his three-story, 200 ton home on top of a bulldozer, which can still be driven down the street! And the entire house can rotate 360 degrees in 10 seconds
21 year-old marketing student Tao Berman loves plunging over a 98-foot raging waterfall at over 55 mph, a maneuver that could kill even an experienced kayaker! This will be the highest fall he has attempted so far. Last year, 58 people were killed in kayak accidents
Top Gun Teen
An 8 year-old girl went into a dogfight with the best military pilots around and beat them all! Now 16, she has flown just about every aircraft there is including the Goodyear Blimp and a Russian MIG fighter at 940 mph, becoming the youngest person to break the sound barrier. AirCombatUSA.com
This pet pot-bellied pig saved her owner's life by running out into traffic to summon help as the woman lay unconscious from a heart attack!
Dancing With the Dead
Every seven years the people of Madagascar, located off the coast of Africa take part in an unbelievable ritual. Celebrants remove remains of their departed loved ones from local grave sites and dance with them in a traditional party for the dead. It takes as much as 30 years for a family to save up enough money for the ritual
One New York man has designed his own line of clothes that really grow on you...I mean REALLY grow on you. His suits are made of living grass! Grass bikini
Dirt Rider Face Off
Following a harrowing dirt bike crash Seth Enslow smashed his face and needed total reconstruction. In order to do that, doctors actually removed his face, repaired it and put it back on!
From The Vault
This group of two-headed animals all came from one farm. The owner set up a sanctuary where mal-formed animals could live as normally as possible; one five-legged cow lived many years there
Moab Desert Tragedy
The passengers of this 4-wheel-drive vehicle walk away after their car loses control and plummets down a steep slope in Utah's Moab Desert!
As a rite of passage, once a year this group of native islanders takes turns attaching long vines to their ankles and then diving head-long from 100 foot-tall towers! The village men build the massive tower themselves using trees for the frame and no mechanical equipment to help them. The tower divers then choose their own vines to jump with. Only a thin rope of plant keeps these men from certain death!
Todd and Brent Von Hoffman are two brothers who have written a book that is a tribute to American masculinity. The authors of "The Big Damn Book of Sheer Manliness" travel the US in search of all of the things men love. Their quest is to find the ultimate testosterone-based symbols of macho American life. Watch them face off in a test of wills as they use their rocket-powered motorcycle helmets (aka the "Big Black Helmets of Death") to fire at each other -- protected only by chest protectors and metal trash can lids.
Jesus Rivas and his partner Maria Munoz, have a dangerous occupation. The two adventurers hunt down the largest snakes on earth in the tangled jungles of Venezuela. To do this, they walk barefoot in piranha and stingray infested murky water to feel the anacondas beneath them! They perform this task as a research project to discover the unknown lives, feeding, and mating habits of the monstrous reptiles! Were they the inspiration for the movie Anaconda?
Kris Holm has taken unicycling to extremes. Kris rides his one-wheeled bike places that most people are afraid to walk through. He is an extreme unicyclist, and he’s able to ride off of a 20-foot tree onto a van, then blaze along the shear edge of a 2,000-foot cliff descending onto a 65-degree slope of slippery smooth granite. The scariest part of his freewheeling adventure: unicycles are not built to handle such abuse and they don't have brakes!
David Csotlow and his whitewater rafting company have developed a unique method for satisfying their customers’ needs. David’s team uses homing pigeons to get photographs developed instantly for their clients. They started training chicks before they were ready to fly, and eventually taught them to transport film. Driving the film to the photo shop would take a lot longer than the pigeons, and isn't as environmentally friendly.
In 1992 Ken Moss was in a terrible car accident and lost his eyesight. Ken refused to allow this "handicap" eight years ago to limit his activities. He vowed to not only drive again, but to do it at very high speeds. Ken has learned how to drive using only audio cues in his modified racing car. He travels at dangerous velocities using only his sense of hearing to guide him. Watch this completely blind man drive a car around a race track... at 200 mph!
Needle Throwing Man
This specially trained agent against terrorism for the Chinese government defies the laws of nature by throwing up to six needles like darts through glass. You can even see the pinholes where the needles have penetrated!
Fastest Talking Woman
As a comedienne, Fran Capo has a quick wit and a big mouth, but the fastest mouth? Fran can speak an astounding 603.23 words per minute--that's more than 10 words per second-- faster than any other woman on earth!
(9/6/2000, Rated TV-PG)
Have you ever been too close to a firecracker as it goes off? Well, that’s nothing! The men and boys of the Toyokawa clan in Japan have a bizarre and dangerous rite of passing that makes a Fourth of July accident seem trivial. These men pack bamboo pipes with pounds of gunpowder and hold them in their hands until the pipes explode. This dangerous feat is done to prove that a boy has become a man. Unbelievably, now one gets hurt!
The hottest city in the world can be found in Finland...during the Sauna Bathing World Championship! It is a sport that probably won’t make the Olympics anytime soon. The "sauna bathing world championship" takes place every year, where men and women must withstand steamy saunas at 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 Celsius). The annual competition has male female events and the international match between teams from Finland and Sweden, the two top sauna cultures of the world. Will the world champion, Katri Kamarainen, be able to keep her title in this year’s competition?
For 30 years, Jay Cochrane has dedicated his life to skywalking. Even though he spent four years of his life paralyzed from a near-fatal fall, he continues to risk his life to this day. His will is as strong as his balance is steady. His longest walk on a tightrope was in China, in a half-mile long skywalk 1400 feet above the Yangtze River...with no net or safety line!
Human Crash Test Dummy
Rusty Haight spent five years working for the crash investigation unit in the police force. Eventually, Rusty discovered that the models and data he used to reconstruct accidents were not very accurate. He decided to get behind the wheel and crash cars himself to get the appropriate information. Today Rusty freelances and analyzes crash situations for insurance companies and private attorneys. Rusty jumps in a car, straps himself in, hits the gas and runs head-on into a brick wall-- just to make sure the air bag will work. This father of three has been in over 500 violent car crashes and never been seriously injured.
Most of us see bugs as a pest, but not this man! He collects bizarre bugs and sells them for large amounts of money. Mario wanders around in the amazon rainforest, looking for all kinds of insects. In fact, Mario once got lost in the forest. When one of the world's foremost beetle hunters was lost deep in the Amazon forest, his knowledge of insects ended up saving his life! The entomologist had to eat the bugs that he had collected in order to survive for 2 months until rescuers finally succeeded and found him. He now has one of the most extensive giant beetle collections in the world, including some species that grow up to a foot long!
Joanne Gair can make people disappear, but she is no magician. She can paint them right into a background, or even paint clothing onto a human body that is virtually indistinguishable from actual fabric! Watch her make a model disappear into the background of a flower print. In 1992 she "dressed" Demi Moore in a suit-- complete with vest and pinstripes-– made out of body paint, for the cover of Vanity Fair magazine.
Julie and Melvyn Switzer's marriage must be one of the strongest in the world -- it has survived even though Julie says Melvyn's super lound snoring has caused her to lose a lot of sleep. She may be right, because, at over 92 decibels louder than a Harley Davidson starting up, Melvyn has the loudest snore in the world!
The words "bullet hole" conjure up images of violence and mayhem. But, former Olympic shooting champ John Satterwhite has a better use for his bullets-- art. John is such a fast and accurate shooter that he can draw a picture by shooting holes into a tin canvas, creating a masterpiece!
Tony Smart is often called hard-headed and has the x-ray to prove it...he walked around for nine days with a 3-inch nail in his head and didn't even know it!
(9/13/2000, Rated TV-PG)
Do you have any tattoos? Would you want one that covered half of your body? An ancient Samoan method of body art covers the lower half of a young man's body with elaborate designs and patterns. But the cultural identity of creating these designs, while beautiful, happens to be a process that is excruciatingly painful. The tattoos are created by taking ink made from ash and nuts and hammering it into the skin with a comb-like tool and a mallet.
55 Seat Bicycle
Roger Dumas likes to think big. He once decided to build a bike for all of his relatives at a big family reunion. That's ONE bike with 55 seasts on it!. To meet this end, he designed a two-story bicycle with 55 seats. It all started when he built a three-seated bicycle for himself and his daughters to ride. Slowly over time, he started adding seats for other family members. Watch while he puts the 55-seat bike to the test to see how long his whole family can ride it.
Dr. Mark Hostetler's main area of expertise is the study of insects, and the gunk that is left behind when a bug goes splat. He spends long hours studying the various types of splatter created by different bugs hitting windshields; he's researched it, catalogued it, and even written a book about it called "That Gunk on Your Car." By looking at a splat, Dr. Hostetler can name the bug and even tell you what sex it was!
Lap Top Graffiti
You are surely unaware, but you may have one of the most amazing art galleries right in front of you. Almost anything that uses a microchip contains hundreds of pieces of art, invisible to the naked eye. Even a Laptop has an art gallery hidden under its keyboard. How does it get on the microchip? Engineers who design the chips sign their work by adding their own artwork to the tiny piece. The artwork touches upon many topics, such as political issues, sports, recreation, etc.
Have you ever wished you were a member of a royal family? One man had his wish come true. Henk Otte, a construction worker from Holland, went on a long-awaited vacation to Africa and ended up becoming a King. He now rules part of the Volta Region in Ghana, home to thousands of Ewe tribespeople who view him as the reincarnation of the late Chief.
If you don’t like reptiles, you may not want to watch this segment. Snake charmer Johnny Tong has trained his pet snake to crawl in his nose and out his mouth. Johnny isn't a traditional snake charmer. You’ll never see him wearing a turban and staring down a cobra in a basket. Johnny is surprisingly a clean-cut California man who entertains people in Venice Beach.
Like foot binding, this ancient tradition is chilling...castrating males in Indian society. But, these eunuchs, known as the Invisibles are thought to hold strange powers to bless and to curse, and Indian citizens readily pay money to stay in their good favor.
Dennis Walston may be the most limber man on earth. He can bend over backwards and walk under a bar only six inches off the ground, lower than anyone on earth!
The perfect beach is found in Kyoto, Japan. An amazing ten thousand sunbathers can comfortably lounge on the sands of this tropical paradise and it's all indoors!
(9/20/2000, Rated TV-PG)
Body Boarder Shark Attack
After body boarder Neal Stephenson had his leg ripped off by a great white shark, he went right back into the water to practice his favorite sport -- while he still had the bangages on!
Holifest is the festival of colors and is one of the most exuberant Hindu festivals. There is dancing and singing, but there are also events that may not be common in American festivals. Hindu wives use this time to rid their spouses of evil and bad feelings. They chase them through the streets whipping and throwing paint on them, to rid them of the evil spirits!
Evelyn Rosenberg discovered a way to create amazing sculptures. Beautiful sculptures-- works of art that sell for $50,000 to $150,000. But instead of an artist's smock, she dons a hard hat to do her work, because, she creates her one of a kind works of art by using high explosives. Detonagraphy is the name that she has given her unique process of sculpting. She first sculpts a negative in clay and casts a plaster positive with it. Sheets of metal are placed on top of the plaster shape and covered with a rubber sheet, and then an explosive sheet is placed over the whole thing. It is then blown up and the pressure forces the metal into the shape of the plaster.
If you think players in the NBA are tall, wait until you meet Michael! Michael Ri is 7'8" tall and is the tallest basketball player alive. He is from North Korea and came to the United States to play basketball. Due to the hostility between the US and Korea, he had to return to his homeland. He still plays basketball in Korea and scouts say he shows great promise.
This dog has to be seen to be believed! Dominic is just your average greyhound who likes to run fast, fetch, play ball and frisbee. But this active pup has only two legs-- both on the same side! The loveable Dominic is a greyhound who was run over by a car when he was 4 months old. Both of his right legs had to be amputated, leaving him with only two legs on the left side of his body. Dominic learned to live with his disability, however, and now runs around faster than some of the normal neighborhood dogs!
Ky Michaelson is a true rocket man! He’s the first civilian to build and launch a personal rocket 12 miles into the sky. Ky's mind is very mechanically driven. Though his dyslexia caused him academic problems in school, he is a mastermind at inventing all kinds of amazing contraptions (including a rocket stroller). Ky is currently working on launching one of his rockets into outer space. We have lift off!
Do you have a stomachache? Don’t worry, help is on the way. British and Israeli scientists have developed an entirely self-contained device that, when swallowed, will record what is going on in a person's stomach and intestines. This device is only as big as a pill, but despite its size, is tough enough to withstand the stresses of the human body. Dr. Paul Swain, a gastro-enterologist in England, shows how this works.
There’s a new reason not to go back in the water! Shannon Ainslie, a 15 year old from South Africa, was surfing one day on the South African Eastern Coast. As he was catching a wave, not one, but two great white sharks attacked him! Shannon proved that he was too tough for the sharks to chew, as he struggled free of their deadly grip. Shannon survived the attack, which was caught on tape by a local tourist.
Screw On Mohawk
Joe Ellwood likes a little variety in his life. That's why he had permanent implants inserted in his head to allow him to screw on different decorative head gear.
(9/27/2000, Rated TV-PG, last of season one)
Hole In One Kid
Look out PGA! Jackson Rue is only six years old and has already made four hole-in-ones! It is an unbelievable feat for someone his age, especially considering that Tiger Woods has only made three of those special strokes in his lifetime. The odds of an amateur making a hole in one are 12,000 to 1, but Jackson was able to make his first after only a month of golf practice. Website: jacksonjrgolf.com
Cloak of Ants
For the young men of the Amazon, rites of passage give them the chance to show stamina in the face of great pain. These strong young men volunteer to wear a cloak of fire ants, enduring very painful stings. If they can keep from showing pain, they will become one of the men of the tribe. If you think the men have it bad, the women have to withstand each of their hairs on their head being pulled out one by one!
Have you ever had a puzzle you just couldn’t solve? We’ve found a man who may be able to answer "no" to that question. Neil Bines can decipher any anagram faster than anyone else, and will gladly prove it. He can just hear the letters from any word and easily unscramble them and he's willing to wager the thousand dollars in his pocket to prove that he can do it faster than anyone else! Neil developed this skill as a child and has become a great scrabble player because of it.
This drawing of a dog was sent in to Ripley in the 1930s by a boy who grew up to be a famous cartoonist
Fry Car Roadtrip
3 college students are driving from Massachusetts to Los Angeles fueling their car at fast food restaurants along the way with grease that would otherwise be dumped. They are using recycled French Fry oil instead of gas! The race for the next big source of fuel goes on! Skip Wrightson and Justin Carven have developed a way for their Volkswagen van to run on grease rather than gasoline. It even passed California's smog emissions test
So you think you live in a dangerous neighborhood! Unfortunately for the neighbors, many WWI battlefields of Eastern France still contain undetonated bombs and artillery shells! Meet the men who go out to playgrounds and backyards to scrape through dirt looking for unexploded rounds of ammunition. Thirty to forty tons of ammunition are removed each year, and it will take 200 years to clean up the land and make it safe!
Fear of Flying
Joey Strange has a phobia about heights, but he won’t let it beat him! He will stand up to his lifelong fear by inserting hooks into his back and dangling from a helicopter while flying over the city of L.A. He has found that by inserting hooks into his body, he goes into a meditative state and is able to go beyond the pain. See the 29 year old father of 2 dangle from a helicopter and fly over the Hollywood Sign. Website: www.globalicons.com (link archived in 1999)
Architect Bryan Berg builds incredible recreations of the world's most famous structures that can hold up to a ton of weight when placed on top of them. And, they're only made of ordinary playing cards!
Ripley's previously seen on Cloo
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episodes of Ripley's moved back to SYFY's Chiller TV channel starting March 2017
Believe it or not, in 2008 a James Bond fan in Switzerland unveiled his own, fully functional, car that goes underwater. The wheels are powered by an electric motor on land, and 2 electric motors drive propellors when underwater. The Squba can travel on land or up to ten metres underwater. It's not for sale and he has no plans to build more. ITN has also posted a video of it without narration.
Is she wearing clothes or just paint?
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The Prime Minister in the movie The Ugly American (1963) was played by actor Kukrit Pramoj. Finding himself typecast and unable to find other roles, he gave up acting and went into politics, becoming the Prime Minister of Thailand in 1975. The movie "The King & I" about the ruler of Siam (Thailand) 1851-1868, is banned in Thailand. The wife of Alexander III intercepted a death warrent reading "Pardon impossible, to be sent to Siberia" and saved the man's life by moving the comma to read "Pardon, impossible to be sent to Siberia"
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Howard Hughes set many aviation records, including a 1938 round-the-world speed record. In addition to food and fuel, Hughes had the plane filled with ping-pong balls on the theory that it would float if he crashed in the water!
German poet Johann Schiller was inspired by the smell of rotten apples which he kept on his desk at all times, believe it or not!
Australian weatherman Clement Wragge was the first to name hurricanes after people...he used the names of people he had quarreled with! On July 30 of each year, Supplication Day, the natives of the Virgin Islands pray for protection from hurricanes. By the way, "blizzard" is a boxing term, refering to a knockout punch. On 3/14/1870, a bad snowstorm hit Iowa and a local newspaper called it a real blizzard of a storm. By 1880, so many newspapers in the U.S. & Canada were refering to snowstorms as blizzards that it lost its original meaning!
The Bushmen of South Africa worship the Praying Mantis as a divinity. And instead of a spoon, they eat soup by sucking it out of a brush made of hyena backhair. The Ripley collection includes African baskets woven from porcupine quills
There is no part of North America where the deer and the antelope play. While we do have deer, early settlers saw pronghorn sheep and thought they were antelope. Ed Matoukis of Forty Fort, PA, created a Christmas tree out of 700 elk antlers. Mary Queen of Scots had a watch made in the shape of a human skull
Wierd News This Month
Thomas Handford of New Mills, Lancashire, England, served many terms in the local jail for drunkeness and poaching. When he reformed, he bought the jail ten years later and lived in it the remainder of his life (1854), and it was still owned by the Handford family when Ripley reported it a hundred years later.
In 1933, gold was worth $35/ounce when President Roosevelt made gold ownership illegal, forcing total use of silver coins & paper money. At that time a new car cost about $700 or 20 ounces of gold. Today you can still buy a new car for 20 ounces of gold (about $20,000) but the U.S. dollar is worth less than five cents compared to 1933. President Ford finally repealed FDR's Executive Order in 1974 and three years later, Congress made it illegal for any President to recall all gold from U.S. citizens except for war or national emergency. A reader reported to Ripley in 1933 that his goldfish turned to silver the day of FDR's gold call-in order
Innovative Spinal Tech of Massachusetts declared bankrupcy in 2009, among the items auctioned off were 9 human cadavers. A person with bad breath may not join China's manned space program to become an astronaut. Frank Tower survived the sinking of the Titanic, the Lusitania and the Empress of Ireland, inspiring a Twilight Zone episode
McCarthyism didn't just blacklist people: sale of margarine was restricted in Wisconsin until 1967 when the restriction was lifted despite it's "link to Communism" according to state senator Gordon Roseleip. In India there are forty million widows, equal to the entire population of Spain. The Japanese Emperor gave the Korean Emperor a tall pagoda as a wedding gift, but in 1910 the Japanese took it back and erected in in Tokyo
Rev. Thomas M. Allen (Paris, KY) refused nomination for US Congress, on the grounds that it would set a bad example for young ministers. In 1464, Korea issued a coin shaped like an arrowhead 4 inches long. A pair of wrens in Cornwall, England, built a nest in the skeleton of a pheasant
A flea can jump 12 inches, the equivalent of a man jumping 800 feet. A ConuSnail of the South Pacific has bite that is fatal to humans. During the Spanish-Dutch War in 1585, the Dutch built such a massive battleship they named it End Of The War: it was sunk immediately and the war went on another 63 years. According to the United Nations, 2009 was the first year in which over half the world's population lived in cities. On 4/13/10, a man was arrested at Los Angeles Airport trying to smuggle 14 live birds into the U.S. hidden in his pants. Dress boots worn by Roman army officers were adorned with the paws & head of a small animal.
A man in the Bhamta tribe of India cannot marry until he has been arrested at least 14 times. 3000 yards of silk thread can be spun from a single silkworm cocoon. The flag of the First Troop, Philadelphia City Cavalry, was the first American banner to display 13 stripes in 1775. James Tyson, Australia's 1st cattle baron, left an estate of $6,000,000 in 1898 with no Will because he disliked all his relatives. Escaped slave Blanche Kelso Bruce served in the Mississippi state senate 1875-1881. The city horn of Ripon, England has been blown every night for over 1000 years to announce curfew time. Morse Code for "sos" is ... --- ...
In Kansas it is illegal for railroad officials to disable or tamper with switch or signal lights to test train crews. The green wine of Minho, Portugal, comes from grapes that climb shade trees up to 30 feet high. Forbes Magazine says Hawaii has had fewer natural disasters in the last 100 years than any other U.S. state.
When the Louisville and Nashville railroad began using wireless portable radios in 1968, the trainmen were paid $2 extra per day to carry and use the new-fangled communications device The stones that Stonehenge is made of, about 85 miles from London, weigh up to 26 tons each, yet no one knows how they were moved. 3M's first product was sandpaper. means "fragrant harbor" in Chinese, though its first major export was opium. Asians consider peach blossoms to be erotic. Railroad workers earned an average of 70 cents an hour in 1935.
Before WW1, the first manual typewriters cost $2000 each in today's money. On June 6, 1833, Andrew Jackson became the first US President to ride a railroad train, B&O for 13 miles to Baltimore. During World War 1, an admiral who liked to use acronyms, ended a letter to Winston Churchill with "OMG (Oh My God)" the first known use of OMG, BION (Believe It Or Not). Light was added to the Statue of Liberty's torch so that it could serve as New York Harbor's official lighthouse. In many Asian languages, the word for "food" is the same as the word for rice. The first American railway locomotives equipped with whistles (for Long Island RR and the New York Central) were built under the supervision of George Washington Whistler.
Due to continental drift, Europe and Washington DC are 15 feet farther apart each year. Gettysburg was the site of a bloody battle between Indian tribes 350 years ago, long before it became the bloodiest battle of the American Civil War. Austin, Texas, is the southernmost state capital in the USA, not counting Hawaii. Chicago is known as "The Windy City" but is actually the 15th windiest city in the USA. 40% of all tobacco is smoked by people in mainland China. The Labrador Retriever is named after Labrador, Canada, which was named after Portuguese explorer Joao Fernandes Lavrador. Columbus, Ohio, is the only state capital created in the image of a Christian cross, 7 miles wide by eight miles north-south, in honor of the Maltese cross carried by Christopher Columbus.
The average American gains less than a pound over the Christmas holidays. Sacramento, capital of California, was founded by Swiss immigrants. Houdini spied for Scotland Yard and the US Secret Service while touring Europe and Russia. Jefferson invented the swivel desk chair and sat on one while writing the Declaration of Independence. North Korea and Finland are separated by one country, Russia. Poison apples are real, they grow on the Manchineel tree of Latin America and the Caribbean.
Ancient Egyptians believed that perfume was the sweat from their god Ra. A diver in Michigan's St Clair River found a note in a bottle stuck in the silt that was written by 2 girls 97 years earlier in 1915. A man in the UK found a 3000 year old Egyptian jar in his garden. Martin Kober of New York found a $300,000,000 Michelangelo painting hidden behind his couch. The geysers of Yellowstone National Park come from water heated by a dorment super-volcano, but scientists don't believe it will erupt again for at least 10,000 years
Kids today: "Children today are tyrants. They contradict their parents, gobble their food, and tyrannize their teachers"